Biden to make Russia aggression focal point of State of the Union, warns, 'Putin was wrong'

President Biden's words about Russia's Vladimir Putin and his call to other world leaders to prevent war are in White House excerpts of his first SOTU address
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Biden
President Biden on Feb. 24, 2022
(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will make Russia's aggression toward the Ukraine a focal point of his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, according to excepts released by the White House.

"Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos," Biden is set to says in his primetime TV address. "They keep moving. And, the costs and threats to America and the world keep rising. ... Putin was wrong. We are ready."

He will also reiterate the United States' alliances with other Western-nations in the effort to avoid war.

"That’s why the NATO Alliance was created to secure peace and stability in Europe after World War 2," Biden will say. "The United States is a member along with 29 other nations. It matters. American diplomacy matters."

He is expected in his address to call for tax increases on individuals and families earning more than $400,000 a year and renew his push for passage of the nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act.

The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that the spending legislation increase the deficit by $367 billion.

According to senior White House officials, Biden is also going to advocate for Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 a hour and enact federal paid family and medical leave.

Biden will make his pitches in the House chambers in a joint session of Congress, in his first State of the Union address.

Biden arrives on Capitol Hill amid a challenging period in his first term that includes inflation, rising violent crime in many major U.S. cities and recovering from the roughly two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic. 

"One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer," Biden also says in excerpts. "I have a better plan to fight inflation.

"Lower your costs, not your wages. Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America. And, instead of relying on foreign supply chains – let's make it in America."

Inflation and the other challenges, which include stalled legislation in Congress, have also resulted in low voter-approval rating and other unfavorable polling numbers.

Biden is also expected to revisit the union labor theme of many of his past economic speeches as president. The Democrat president wants Congress to pass legislation that makes it easier for workers to form unions. 

He will also outline ways to deal with supply chain issues. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Biden would directly address inflation during his speech, now at a 40-year high.

"Of course that is a huge issue on the minds of Americans," she said.

White House officials told reporters that the president would discuss price increases that "become entrenched" and start to "eat away at the economic progress the country is making and squeez[e] families' budgets," CBS News reported.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, has opposed to Biden's wide-ranging piece of legislation known as the Build Back Better Act, which included $550 billion of climate-related spending as well as new social programs. Democrats in Congress have continued to advocate for passage of parts of that bill. The trimmed down version of the package was about $2 trillion. 

Biden will also reportedly tout his American Rescue Plan Act that was signed last March and that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected would cost $1.9 trillion.

Republicans often attribute rising inflation to the Democrats' passage of the legislation after two previous pandemic-era stimulus packages already had been enacted.

Prior to Biden's speech, Republicans including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the president doesn't have accomplishments to discuss in his address.

"I don't know what message he's going to have because it's hard to talk about it," he said Monday. "Tell me what they've done right. So normally you come to a State of the Union to talk about the accomplishments, but there aren't any."